Volunteer Stories

A Spiritual Journey of the Heart and Soul

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh If you are familiar with the Langley Hospice Society, there is a strong possibility that you have also heard of Thornton Smith. As one of our esteemed volunteers of the past fifteen years, Thornton has participated in and supported a variety of services and events. From serving as a past treasurer of our Board of Directors, to providing support in palliative and bereavement settings, and more recently, participating in the creation of our beautiful children’s garden – it is not exaggerating to state that Thornton has done it all. Thornton attributes his interest in volunteering to when he first began to lend his support at a residential home for the physically disabled in England. After he moved to Canada and created a lovely family, Thornton began to serve on our Board of Directors...

Helping One Another

While doing my volunteer work at the hospice residence, I recently spent the better part of my shift visiting with a very discontented patient, whose health seemed to be getting worse day by day. This particular evening was a very lonely one for him – no visitors – and when he asked me to stay and talk, I naturally complied. Our conversation started about his family and as he talked, he began to act worried and distressed. I encouraged him to talk it out and very rapidly the conversation progressed into an intimate sort of emotional confession regarding his grown son. He had disowned this son over thirty-five years ago, and explained to me the circumstances leading up to their conflict. He knew he was going to die soon, and he wanted to see his son one last time, tell him how sorry he was and how much he loved him. He told me, several times, that it was his dying wish to do this. At first, I felt a reluctance to get involved in the “Family Dance”, but I was very emotionally moved by...

The Hospice Experience – From An Office Volunteer

When I retired two years ago this month, I knew I wanted to continue to contribute to my community in some way. Having worked as a Public Health Nurse for 30 years, I had experienced the satisfaction and rewards of working with people to make a difference in their lives. At the same time, I wanted to do something that I didn't have to "carry home with me". Langley Hospice Society office receptionist is the perfect answer. I know I am making a difference each Wednesday afternoon when I answer the phones, type articles, enter data, put together folders for group sessions, fold brochures and even take out the recycling. I enjoy working with the staff who are always friendly and appreciate whatever I do. Learning new skills on the computer and mastering the simple phone system has been fun. I am also surprised each week to learn how rich and deep the Hospice services are and how many families and individuals who are suffering from loss are served. The staff are caring and creative in...

A Gift to Yourself!

I used to think of volunteering as giving, which it is. Now I also think of it as receiving. Personally receiving the joy of working with such amazing women, and the sense of doing something important for a good cause. Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has been a great experience for me. I look forward to Tuesday afternoon and can't wait to see what treasures are ready for inspection. The women I work with are also treasures. What a wonderful group! My Mother left me with some good advice. In your life you need three things. Someone to Love, Something to do, and Something to look forward to. Well I love my Tuesday ladies, they keep me busy with something to do, and I really do look forward to it!! Volunteering is a gift to yourself! Sue Westhaver Thrift Store Volunteer

Volunteer Viewpoint

When I tell people I am a volunteer at the Langley Hospice Society they always ask: “what do you do there?” When I introduce myself to a new resident and/or their families they always want to know what the volunteers do. There is the explanation that volunteers will help in any way they can – make coffee and tea, do dishes, sit with people, play cards, talk, listen, hold a hand, and give tours or whatever needs to be done. What I would really like to tell people is what volunteers do is give thanks and be grateful. We are thankful that residents and/or family members will let us into their lives. We are grateful that they will turn to us when they need someone to talk to. We are thankful that they allow us to be with them at this crucial time in their lives. We are grateful they make us feel needed and welcome. We are grateful when they are thinking about the end of life and they share their wisdom with us about what is really important in life. We are thankful when we are there for...

My First Year at Hospice

After having spent a year as a volunteer at our Langley Hospice Residence, I have been contemplating what this year has meant to me; what I have learned, and what I have been able to give.  I believe my hospice work actually started two years ago as I sat with my own mother at a hospice in Regina. It was then that I decided this was where I would volunteer. In the past I have served on numerous boards and committees. From all of them I have learned a tremendous amount, and worked with very dedicated, knowledgeable, and community minded people. So why is this different for me?  I am now privileged to be on a different journey. This is a journey where those we meet even for so short a time, need so little from us but give us so much. It is where simple things are important, like a cup of tea with a lady who just smiles and touches your hand. It is a hug, without words, or an opportunity to listen to a family’s story about their loved one. It is giving a grieving family time, care and...

The Perfect Fit

After the passing of my husband Pat, I began seeking supportive services through Langley Hospice Society. After a few sessions, a volunteer opportunity at the Second Story Thrift Store was recommended to me as a way to assist me during my grieving and to help me out of my “solitary confinement”. I heard of the wonderful people and vision that the store entailed and the important sense of contribution volunteering provides. Although I was hesitant at first, as this would be my first experience as a volunteer, I conjured up the courage to fill out an application. Soon after the interview process, I found myself working and laughing amongst the warm-hearted individuals at Second Story Treasures. The brilliant cohesion and genuine care demonstrated amid the volunteers and staff provided me with the normality I was seeking and helped me build my confidence on a daily basis. Initially given the task of repairing and cleaning jewellery, I received a quick “promotion” to pricing and...

So Why Am I Here?

Recently, when another volunteer discovered that I live a 30 - minute drive away from the Langley Hospice store, she commented to me that “there must be something closer to your home that you could volunteer at instead of the Hospice”. So, why am I here? Three years ago, my sister-in-law’s Mom, Isabel, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After several weeks of home care in my brother and sister-in-law’s home, Isabel was moved to the hospice care facility in Chilliwack. When I went to visit her, I was so impressed, the facility was beautiful! It looked like Barb and Gerri had put their own personal decorating touch on each room. The great room with its kitchen/dining and sitting area was amazing! How could a person feel so comfortable in a place where so many had come to spend their last days on earth. The care givers were unbelievable. I don’t know how they do it, day after day. Patient after patient. And, now, when I hear Pat (from our linen area) comment on a happening from her...

Musical Interludes at the Hospice Residence

My name is Paul Helliwell-Hargreaves and I am 64 years old. I have been volunteering for Langley Hospice Society at Langley Hospice Residence as a musician for a good part of a year. I play an acoustic guitar and sing songs like ballads, folk, western, rock, old time, and gospel. If you are familiar with the Hospice Residence, I play by the memorial table in front of the nurses’ station. The acoustics are so good the sound carries to the end of the corridor. If anyone wants me to play in their room, then I will. I’ve had no formal training dealing with death in the Hospice but for 12 years I did volunteer at Delta View SCU playing for residents with dementia. My uncle/godfather, a resident, eventually died there. I was asked to play for an elderly gentleman and his family, and was asked if I knew “The Red River Valley “(a favourite western song of the gentleman’s). Quite often when I’m singing I don’t really listen to the words, but this time the importance of the words impacted us...

Volunteering at the Langley Hospice Society

Recently, I worked for several years in retail; I was good at it, but I found that the work had little meaning for me. I wanted my efforts to be purposeful. Before I had my kids, I worked as an administrative assistant for a non-profit organization. There I felt needed, an equal part of a team working to help others. I wanted to do so again. I went back to school to update my skills and, needing current office experience, I started looking for volunteer opportunities. I found just what I needed; the Langley Hospice Society, a non-profit organization that uses volunteers in its office. I was immediately impressed by the inclusiveness shown on the volunteer application form as it made clear that any applicant from any background would be considered. My kind of place! So here I am, again a part of a team, warmly welcomed by people who share my values, working together to help those who need us. Heather Frenette Supportive Programs Centre Office...

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

Store hours:

Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Donations of gently used clothing and household items may be dropped off:

Monday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

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